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A Small Key to a Big Life Paperback – 29 Feb 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 438 pages
  • Publisher: Pen Press Publishers; 1st Edition edition (29 Feb. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906206481
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906206482
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.6 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,512,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

Bill Knight hovers on the brink of despair. Trapped in a job he hates, Bill is consumed by his youthful desire to travel the world and taste the freedom he craves. When his longing drives him to take a reckless gamble, events quickly spiral out of control. Bill's life is certainly transformed, but is it in the way he imagined?

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Martin Gillard really has a talent, not only for putting words together, but for his insights into human character. His main character, Bill Knight, goes through a really believable progression. He is a amiable character all through his early despair, but I think what is most likeable about him is that he finds such inner strength and remains true to himself throughout. The author develops a truth which is three dimensional. Your view of it depends on where you are standing. I look forward to his next book!
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Format: Paperback
This was a really enjoyable read. Refreshingly, Gillard manages to capture the self-examination of the main character Bill without it ever becoming self-indulgent, mainly because Bill introspects outwards via his relationship with others and like any of us he is often surprised by how he is perceived. The novel is an exploration of the notion of what makes a hero, the importance of honesty as a route to happiness, and how our biggest cock-ups can turn into massive learning experiences. Gillard reads a bit like Paulo Coelho without the mysticism, a search for meaning in an individual life (rather than the meaning OF life) grounded in the daily reality of how we end up.
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Format: Paperback
What is the single most significant decisive moment in any individual's life? For many either too many or none. For Pontius Pilate: 'Guilty'; for Newton: "I think I'll sit down over there". For me. To join their company, it was when, aged 10, a simple gesture in the playground convinced my assessors that such a nice middle-class boy may well have flunked his 11+ but was surely Grammar School material (I had picked up the fallen number card of a fellow '3rd Part-er'). And hence it was that I got to meet the author of this excellent first novel, only to lose contact seven years later for a full 45 years, while we went our separate ways and forged our separate furrows.

For Bill Knight (no relation, honest), the hero of Gillard's book, his momentous decision hurls him into an overdue journey of angst-ridden self-evaluation, self-doubt and eventual self-realisation, emerging after twists and turns and umpteen recoveries, reborn into a new world, utterly different from the safe, middle-class, bourgeois routine of thwarted ambition that had become his norm.

It's a real page-turner from the instant he falls prey to self-pity and greed, 'appropriating' his bosses' illicit petty-cash and taking it to a nearby casino in an attempt to win some more. The amoral self-delusory inner arguments that Bill then uses in an attempt to exonerate himself from this totally uncharacteristic act lead him into a series of spontaneous half-thought-through decisions. These lead him into a sometimes desperate, sometimes unexpectedly rewarding parallel world, as he is forced to balance his dutifully uncompromising love for his family with the realisation that he has, to put it mildly, committed a virtual social suicide.
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